Tag Archives: Canadian television

THE MANIPULATORS (1970): FORGOTTEN TELEVISION

marcstrange 0001THE MANIPULATORS (1970) – The words “gritty” and “streetwise” seem never to be used when describing vintage television programs from Canada but they certainly apply to The Manipulators (Originally the title was to be The Clients).

If you enjoyed underrated Canadian shows like The Beachcombers or Police Surgeon you might like The Manipulators, an hour-long dramatic series about parole officers and the men and women they were responsible for. Compared to 21st Century television, which seems infested with law enforcement procedural shows 24/7, this program would have seemed much less derivative for early 70s viewers.    Continue reading

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THE ALL-NIGHT SHOW (1980-1981): THE PIONEERING CANADIAN CULT SHOW

Chuck the Security Guard (Chas Lawther) in an ad featuring his catch-phrase "Hey you!"

Chuck the Security Guard (Chas Lawther) in an ad featuring his catch-phrase “Hey you!”

Years before Night Flight, long before info-mercials had conquered the wee hours and more than a decade before Penn and Teller pretended to be late-night security guards hosting bad movies on Monster Vision, there was The All-Night Show.  

In September of 1980 Toronto’s CFMT Channel 47 (Cable 4) launched The All-Night Show, which ran Monday through Friday from 2am to 6am, 1am to 6am on Saturdays. Chas Lawther earned a spot in Cult Valhalla by portraying CFMT’s Chuck the Security Guard, backed up by his never-seen sidekicks Errol Bruce and Michael Lennick playing Channel 47 cameramen Ryerson DuPont and P.B. Leonard. A young Jim Carrey did some voice work for the program during its lone year on the air. Jeff Silverman created and produced the show.

Chuck the Security Guard hosting The All-Night Show.

Chuck the Security Guard hosting The All-Night Show.

The show’s schtick was that Chuck, DuPont and Leonard would run their own pirate broadcast from CFMT’s facilities after the “real” station had gone off the air. Chuck and company would present bad and campy movies, music videos, cult t.v. shows and video oddities like old commercials, bizarre educational shorts and fragments of Canadian kitsch culture. Not only that but pitchmen could get air time on the show to hawk their new products, the more off-beat the better. Oddball comedy sketches and live phone calls were also part of The All-Night Show‘s regular segments.  

Despite its comparatively short lifespan The All-Night Show has reached legendary status in Canada. The generation that caught the program when it was airing live are part of a very select club with an enviable claim to a certain “hipness beyond hip” status for getting to be there as it happened. One of those fans from the show’s actual run is the iconoclastic Canadian columnist Kathy Shaidle who blogs at  http://www.fivefeetoffury.com/    and is the author of Confessions of a Failed Slut, available at Amazon.  

The daring and iconoclastic Kathy Shaidle

The daring and iconoclastic Kathy Shaidle

Kathy was kind enough to share some of her memories of The All-Night Show:

“When I was in high school The All-Night Show was a very big deal. Yeah, I was a weird kid, but fortunately I had a couple of almost-as- weird friends and sometimes they’d stay overnight to watch it with me.  

“Even though we knew it was ‘fake’ the idea of a security guard taking over the TV station at night appealed to the rebel in us and all the other teenagers I knew were hooked on the show.   Continue reading

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Filed under Forgotten Television, Movie Hosts